Some years ago (~fall 2010)—before I knew anything at all about web development—I attempted to run through Michael Hartl’s famous ruby on rails tutorial. This became one of my first introductions to a handful of technologies: command line, git, code deployment, and programming in general. Awesome stuff for sure, but certainly more than I could chew at the time.

For the most part I basically just went through the motions of each tutorial step. I learned a ton along the way, but much of it didn’t stick…and I never actually finished the main sample app (due to a handful of complex bugs). I became frustrated, disinterested, and eventually abandoned the work1.

Learning & Revisiting

Fast-forward to January, 2012 when I began working with Alex King and Devin Reams at Crowd Favorite. This proved to be an immediate and instieve learning experience (in multiple arenas). Apart from honing my project management skills I became fully exposed to all aspects of professional web development. Even as a PM I found myself using the terminal on a daily basis. I eventually became comfortable enough to regularly update/commit/deploy bits of code (both for our clients and internal products).

So fast-forward again to…yesterday…and (for whatever reason) I’ve decided to jump back into Hartl’s tutorial.

Why do this?

As far as I see it…why not? Any opportunity to learn about web technologies is certainly one that will be beneficial down the road.

Another reason for this is that I’m working through this project in tandem with two others:

  1. Updating this site (via Github pages, Jekyll etc.)
  2. Exploring Harvard’s introductory course for computer science (CS502).

I’m sure this will make my head spin at times…but there definitely seems to be a compounding effect with web technologies when learning different focuses (either at once or in some sequence).

Progress Report

My rails tutorial progress is available on Github (and deployed live via Heroku). The tutorial itself is just as fun as I expected…but I’m just getting started (again) and I’m sure there will be a heavy helping of road blocks and frustration along the way :grin:

As of writing this I’ve finished the two starter apps and am about to dive into the sample app (which I’ve dubbed “the main event”). You can see my work here:

Exciting stuff. More to come!

  1. I did continue to explore front end web development and routintely built sites with WordPress…but I didn’t get a professional helping of web technologies and work flows until I started working with Crowd Favorite. 

  2. This is proving to be an incredibly valuable experience–particularly with laying down a foundation for programming and computer science in general. I’ll certainly plan to post my work on CS50 problem sets on this site as well.